‘Black girls can game too’: Wembley woman wants to inspire young girls with gaming videos

Tianna Mercedes became a gaming streamer in 2016 at age 19

Tianna Mercedes became a gaming streamer in 2016 at age 19 - Credit: Tianna Mercedes

A digital content creator from Wembley has said she hopes to inspire young girls and increase diversity in the gaming industry using her online platforms.

Tianna Mercedes became a gaming streamer in 2016 at age 19, with channels on Youtube and Twitch. She has also amassed more than 18,000 TikTok followers and has collaborated with major companies such as Playstation and Xbox.

Tianna Mercedes

Tianna has channels on Youtube, Twitch and TikTok - Credit: Tianna Mercedes

A gaming streamer is someone who broadcasts themselves playing video games. They often compete in gaming tournaments or play against other streamers, posting the content online for others to watch.

Tianna, 25, said: “When I was around seven-years-old my brother would come to my house and bring his Playstation. I started to love games and my parents would buy me the latest consoles.

Her obsession began playing her brother's Playstation aged seven

Her obsession began playing her brother's Playstation aged seven - Credit: Tianna Mercedes

“I started watching gaming streamers and thought I wanted to do that myself. So, I set up a Twitch account.”

Tianna explained she particularly enjoys playing first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and battle-royale games such as Fortnite.

Tianna enjoys playing first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and battle-royale games such as Fortnite.

Tianna enjoys playing first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and battle-royale games such as Fortnite. - Credit: Tianna Mercedes

Posting videos is her full-time job, as she wants to gain success as a Black female gamer since the gaming market is currently dominated by men. 

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“When I was looking for streamers to watch I couldn’t find many black women," she said. "The stereotype is that gamers are white men.

Tianna Mercedes

Tianna has also made tutorial videos about how to set up a Youtube channel - Credit: Tianna Mercedes

“I have had a lot of young women in London comment on my videos that it’s nice for them to watch someone who looks and sounds like them.”

As a Black content creator, Tianna said she has experienced racist and sexist comments first-hand from fellow gamers while streaming:

“The sad thing is viewers just tell us to mute the comments, but we shouldn’t have to play on mute. People should be nice, and we should feel able to report incidents safely.”

There have been some positives, however, as Tianna said she has received more attention from brands since the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of last year.

She added: “Brands have been more interested in diversity, but I’d still like to see things improve. I want young Black girls to know that they can game too and get good opportunities from it.”

Tianna has also made tutorial videos about how to set up a Youtube channel with just a console and camera to help the industry seem more accessible to people who cannot afford other equipment.

Find Tianna on Youtube, Twitch and TikTok.

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